Three Angel's Messages shared with the world

Chapter 14. Being Sanctified

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"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:2).

Dedicated for a purpose

The Hebrew word for "sanctify" (qadash) means to purify, consecrate, dedicate and to make holy. Many things were sanctified in the Bible. It meant that they were set apart for a holy use. Look at some examples in the Bible.

"Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine" (Exodus 13:2).

"And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it" (Exodus 19:23).

"And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him" (Leviticus 8:10-12).

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:3).

"And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his. And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver" (Leviticus 27:15-16).

Studying the many different things that were sanctified in the Old Testament helps to show that being sanctified means that something different from the norm is happening. The mountain, in Exodus 19:23, was sanctified, or set apart as different from other mountains, because God's presence was there. The seventh day, in Genesis 2:3, was set apart as different from other days, because God rested on it and instructed His people to rest on it as well. A person could set apart his house or field, in Leviticus 27:15-16, as different from others, because they were to be used to benefit the Lord's work. The furniture and vessels in the sanctuary were sanctified, which involved ceremonial activities of sprinkling and anointing.

To be sanctified means to be set apart for something different to happen. The previous ways of doing things, are no longer the norm. It means to be dedicated to God, pronounced clean and appointed to be used for the Lord's work.


In the New Testament, the Greek words for "sanctification" (hagiasmos, hagiazo) mean to make holy, purify and consecrate. Being sanctified doesn't necessarily mean the object is impure to begin with. Notice how Jesus is sanctified in the following verse.

"And for their sakes I [Jesus] sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:19).

Being sanctified primarily means to be set apart and wholly dedicated for a specific holy purpose. In the Old Testament examples above, we saw how objects (mountains, houses, vessels) were dedicated to the Lord's work. Dedicating a human is much more significant.

When a human dedicates himself or herself to another being, it is no trifling matter. There must be heartfelt sincerity, devotion and deep love for the other. A relationship with God begins with mutual love and respect. Giving yourself fully to His work can only be done when there is trust in His ability, goodness, rightness and faithfulness. Living in this state on an ongoing basis becomes a delight and habitual because of your love for each other.

"Holiness is constant agreement with God... Continually the enemy of God will seek to draw us away from our allegiance. But while we cleave to Him who gave Himself for us, we are safe... We are to make an unreserved consecration to God of all that we have and are." (TDG 145.4-5).


Your sanctification occurs at the instance you are converted. But, the term emphasizes that God's goal for you is to live a holy life for Him. You now have a clean new heart and God is helping you mold it. To live in this sanctified state involves continued dedication and submission to God. In other words, because you are devoted to God, you obey Him. This enables growth and character transformation to proceed.

The Bible clearly teaches how you can be sanctified (i.e. live in a state of sanctification); continually embrace the Holy Spirit's work within you to convict you of the truth in God's word and act accordingly (obey).

"Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).

"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: " (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

"That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:16).

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:2).

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The above texts show that sanctification corresponds to obeying the truth as revealed in God's word. If you are truly dedicated to God and set apart for His use, then your life will come more and more into line with His principles. You are considered holy while this growth occurs as you live wholly according to the truth that has been revealed.

Being Sanctified: The state of being dedicated in a loving relationship with and set apart for use in the purposes of God, who, as you learn truth and are willingly obedient, empowers you to separate from harmful habits and live a holy life.

You can only be in a sanctified state as, when you learn of a truth from God, you obey Him, living according to your conscience. Living life in this manner means you are considered blameless. Being without blame doesn't mean you do everything right, but it does mean you do not willingly sin or persist in going against your conscience.

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

"True sanctification is nothing more or less than to love God with all the heart, to walk in His commandments and ordinances blameless. Sanctification is not an emotion but a heaven-born principle that brings all the passions and desires under the control of the Spirit of God; and this work is done through our Lord and Saviour" (Faith and Works 87.1).

"Let your heart be humbled and teachable, softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit. If you find that your former views are not sustained by the Bible, it is for your eternal interest to learn this as soon as possible; for when God speaks in His Word, our preconceived opinions must be yielded up and our ideas brought into harmony with a "Thus saith the Lord." Christ said, "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." With submissive spirit you are to obey the truth at any cost, knowing that the precepts of the Bible are the word of the eternal God" (The Southern Work 47.1).

"True sanctification means perfect love, perfect obedience, perfect conformity to the will of God. We are to be sanctified to God through obedience to the truth" (The Acts of the Apostles 565.1).

"Sanctification is obtained only in obedience to the will of God. Many who are willfully trampling upon the law of Jehovah claim holiness of heart and sanctification of life. But they have not a saving knowledge of God or of His law" (Faith and Works 29.2).

"The followers of Christ are to become like Him--by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification" (Maranatha 231.3).

"There are many who claim that they have been sanctified to God, and yet when the great standard of righteousness is presented to them they become greatly excited and manifest a spirit which proves that they know nothing of what it means to be sanctified. They have not the mind of Christ; for those who are truly sanctified will reverence and obey the Word of God as fast as it is opened to them, and they will express a strong desire to know what is truth on every point of doctrine. An exultant feeling is no evidence of sanctification... Excitement is not sanctification. Entire conformity to the will of our Father which is in heaven is alone sanctification, and the will of God is expressed in His holy law. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification. Proving yourselves obedient children to God's Word is sanctification. The Word of God is to be our guide, not the opinions or ideas of men.--The Review and Herald, March 25, 1902" (Selected Messages Book 3 204.2).

An ongoing state

God continues to unfold truth to your understanding, especially through Bible study, and thus obedience needs to continue to be exercised. In this way, character transformation proceeds. This means ongoing dedication of every part of your being to Christ and continual confirmation of your committment to His working through and in you, molding you like clay, and making your character in harmony with His. The flowing of God's gifts to those who enter into a relationship with Him is ongoing. Sanctification is a continuing process, a state of being, not a one-time deal. You continue to be dedicated to Him, love Him, exercise faith, surrender, seek truth and obey.

"Sanctification is a state of holiness, without and within, being holy and without reserve the Lord's, not in form, but in truth. Every impurity of thought, every lustful passion, separates the soul from God; for Christ can never put His robe of righteousness upon a sinner, to hide his deformity. . . . There must be a progressive work of triumph over evil, of sympathy with good, a reflection of the character of Jesus. We must walk in the light, which will increase and grow brighter unto the perfect day. This is real, substantial growth, which will finally attain to the full stature of men and women in Jesus Christ" (Our High Calling 214.5).

"Through the sanctification of the Spirit you will thus grow more and more like Christ" (That I May Know Him 209.6).

"I must ever urge upon those who profess to believe the truth the necessity of practicing the truth. This means sanctification, and sanctification means the culture and training of every capability for the Lord's service. Teach your children to love the truth because it is the truth and because they are to be sanctified through the truth and fitted to stand in the grand review that shall erelong determine whether they are qualified to enter into higher work, and become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King" (My Life Today 261.3-4).

"His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and 'an habitation of God through the Spirit'. Eph. 2:22" (The Faith I Live By 191.4).

"Our conscience must be purged from dead works to serve the living God. Sanctification means perfect love, perfect obedience, entire conformity to the will of God. If our lives are conformed to the life of Christ through the sanctification of mind, soul, and body, our example will have a powerful influence on the world. We are not perfect, but it is our privilege to cut away from the entanglements of self and sin, and go on unto perfection..." (The Upward Look 99.2).

"In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty... The followers of Christ are to become like Him--by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification" (God's Amazing Grace 20.5-6).

"Sanctification is not an instantaneous but a progressive work, as obedience is continuous. Just as long as Satan urges his temptations upon us, the battle for self-conquest will have to be fought over and over again; but by obedience, the truth will sanctify the soul" (Faith and Works 85.2).

"There is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last" (The Faith I Live By 116.8).

"Many have taken the position that they cannot sin because they are sanctified, but this is a delusive snare of the evil one. There is constant danger of falling into sin, for Christ has warned us to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. If we are conscious of the weakness of self, we shall not be self-confident and reckless of danger, but we shall feel the necessity of seeking to the Source of our strength, Jesus our Righteousness. We shall come in repentance and contrition, with a despairing sense of our own finite weakness, and learn that we must daily apply to the merits of the blood of Christ, that we may become vessels fit for the Master's use" (Faith and Works 85.3).

Committed From the Start...And Growing As a Result
Gardeners often set aside a portion of the harvest to use for seed the next year. In fact, they will even mark a particular plant as reserved for seed, months before the harvest. That plant becomes dedicated to a particular use or purpose. It is expected that the plant will produce better fruit than the others. Every energy and effort, from both the plant and gardener, are focused on nurturing the right environment, training in the correct direction, providing the best food and water, keeping weeds annihilated, and anything else that needs attention for optimal growth. The sanctification process does not mean that you become more and more dedicated to Christ as you go. It doesn't mean that you allow Him more and more access to your heart as you go. Rather, being sanctified is a state of being wholly dedicated and submitted to God, right from the beginning. Being in this state allows the transformation process to occur. You learn more as you go and the relationship is ever deepening, but the committment is 100% from the start, just like a marriage. Belonging to Christ without reserve is sanctification.

A Whole Sacrifice

Complete dedication to God includes the entire being; mind and body.

"The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being--spirit, soul, and body. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians that their "whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23). Again he writes to believers: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (Rom. 12:1). In the time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be "without blemish." So Christians are bidden to present their bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." In order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits man for the service of his Creator" (A New Life 17.2).

"Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. It {sanctification} is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies--not an offering corrupted by wrong habits but--"a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (The Faith I Live By 116.5-6).

God's way is all about understanding and embracing the truth about the world, God and your fellow humans. This truth includes knowledge about God's fairness and methods. You learn to conform to His ways because you believe they are right and best.

Your sanctification means you cease continuing in the same norm of life. Your life now consists of new and better things that support a new purpose. You are committed to Jesus, who loves you intensely. Because you love Him, you strive to ensure everything you have (mental, spiritual, emotional and physical) is preserved in the best possible condition (a sacrifice without blemish). You now belong to Jesus, and your entire being is in His hands. This enables Him to work in and through you. Being in this condition, on an ongoing basis, is the state of sanctification, which goes hand-in-hand with the process of transforming your character. Sanctification makes character transformation possible.

Next Bible Term: Being Baptized With Water
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